Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grocery Store Prices Got You Down? I found some secrets!

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When I started blogging a year ago this is one of the blogs that encouraged me. I decided I wanted to get totally debt free. We had built our own home and the housing market had just started to plunge~so we were having a hard time selling our old home. It was very stressful for two very budgeted people! We managed to keep everything going for about a year and a half until our home finally sold and we took much lower than we really needed to take to come out sitting pretty~if you know what I mean.

My Brian and I were excited to move into our new home but with sadness that our put in order finances, we had been careful with all our years of marriage, was now in topsy~turvey. I am not one to sit around in a pity party~no~ I decided I needed to do something about it~ I was going to make money by saving it! I had always been an Aldi shopper~big money savings. I shopped the Dollar Stores and did not mind Vintage Shopping~Thrift Stores one bit. As a Mom who has made a commitment to stay home and educate my own children for 19 years ~it has taken some frugal living to live off one income.

But I was seeing Moms~like Crystal~ on her blog here at Money Saving Mom~take it even further. I was seeing how they were doing even better than being an Aldi shopper.

I signed up for her News Letter and I get several e-mails from her a week. She keys me in on the very good deals. Thank you Crystal~you are a blessing to many!

What I have learned from her blog and others like hers:

*Every store has a cycle where everything has a rock bottom price~usually every 6 weeks. Buy and stock for a month or so until it hits its rock bottom price again. Don't buy as you need it~ when you will pay twice as much. I am saving huge amounts on toilet tissue, paper towels and personal items such as soap and make-up!

*I have almost eliminated Walmart from my shopping almost all together. I have to go there about one time a month only. WHY??? I STARTED SHOPPING WALGREENS AND CVS!!!!
If you don't know about shopping at these two stores you are missing out. You can go to Money Saving Mom to see how it works. It would be silly for me to explain it when she has it all neat and tidy. You only buy what is on sale~use a coupon. You can use a coupon on the ad at the front of the door with a manufactures coupon. Many times it ends up being free or next to free. I can tell you ~I have cut the bill in half and many times better. They both give you cash coupons back for the next trip~Walmart does not give you money back. And to tell you the truth it is so much nicer to get in and out without the crowd and lines. I buy all our make up, shampoo, paper items, school supplies, holiday candy, soft drinks, medicines and sometimes gifts at these stores. It is amazing and well worth looking into the secrets~ I am Sold!

* I started making my own Laundry Soap~ I love my Laundry Soap. I have tweaked it some during the year. I make 5 gallons for about $2.00. Our clothes are bright and clean. My Fabric Softener is wonderful. My recipes are on my blog! I make almost all my cleaners from my pantry. I love them all except for homemade dishwasher soap~still have not mastered that one. These recipes are mine and sometimes it is a bit of a science that you need to learn how you like them~experiment you will find your own niche! I save big money here.$$$$$$$$$

* I started serious coupon clipping~NO~ I hear you!!! I tried it before and it did not work because I did not research the art to the coupon game. It is a game. I now get the Sunday Paper and the Wednesday paper.

* I plan our menus around what is on sale. If it is not on sale I buy it at Aldi. When it is on sale I buy enough to hold me over until it becomes on sale at that golden rock bottom price.

* I cook most everything from scratch. I can make a homemade pizza faster than driving to the Pizza Restaurant!

* I planted a garden. The small victory garden will save a family $2,000.00 a year. After planting our first garden last Summer~I think it is correct. This year we are planting two gardens. I can't tell how wonderful free food is~and oh how wonderful it taste. I learned to can~ it was easy! I made pickles and jam for the first time~yummy. I canned Salsa and Spaghetti sauce. It was so much fun!

* I bought a laying flock of hens. I love my girls and the eggs taste wonderful. Although this year I think we may have to fence our garden to keep the girls out. They have taken over the whole 1o acres as their own~that is another post!

I want to to tell you making money by saving money has lessened my stress instead of added to it. I want to to get better~Money Saving Mom is helping me. She does most of the work for you. You can pay her a visit here!

If you are still making excuses why you can't cut your spending ~so you get your cents and dollars back~ here is Crystal's post for today. She has started a series 31 Days To a Better Grocery Budget. I considered myself a Master Spender/Saver~but I am still learning how to cut even more. One of the things I heard at our Marriage Retreat is that this economy may not ever turn around. I learned that every household owes right now~ $240,000 on the national debt. I don't know about you but I want to get debt free and stay debt free so I am not a slave to Man's Economy. I want to live on God's economy! A year later~ I am here to tell you it works!

And now for Money Saving Mom's post~you don't want to miss her 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget~

“A budget??”

I can hear the groans right now. You were all pumped about these great new money-saving ideas you were going to learn and implement from this series; the last thing you wanted to hear about was a boring topic like budgets.

Remember how you promised me yesterday that you were going to stop making excuses and commit to change? Well, setting up a budget is your first opportunity!

Why You Need a Budget

Without a budget in place, all the money you save is pretty superficial. I’d go so far as to say that without a budget in place, bargain-shopping, coupon-clipping and deal-hunting are likely not going to save you any money. In fact, you might be spending more money in an effort to save money–which totally negates the savings, right?

A budget gives you the ability to track your spending and saving–and hopefully to see an increase in savings and a decrease in spending. Without a budget in place, your money will just be running through your fingers with no set objectives. A budget gives you parameters and purpose, it gives you boundaries and it gives you freedom to live creatively within those boundaries.

How to Set Up a Workable Grocery Budget

1) Average Your Grocery Spending From the Last 4-8 Weeks

How much have you spent at the grocery store over the last 4-8 weeks? Average that amount out and use it as a basis for your initial grocery budget. Ultimately, you’re likely going to want to whittle it down quite a bit–since saving money is one of the big purposes of having a grocery budget!–but now is not the time to worry about that. It’s a huge step just to start with a concrete budget in place.

2) Be Realistic

Don’t put undo pressure on yourself to come up with some crazily-low and impossible-to-stick-with figure for your grocery budget. This is not a contest or a competition and if you want to persevere and see long-lasting benefits, you’ll want to give yourself some breathing room.

3) Challenge Yourself to Slowly Lower Your Budget

Over time and with practice, you’ll likely be able to reduce your original grocery budget figure fairly significantly. But just remember: it takes time. You’re not going to cut your grocery bill in half this month. However, if you slowly shave off 5% here and 5% there, within 6-10 months, it’s very possible you can have it lowered by 30-50% or even more.

Always give yourself grace, though. If you’re ever feeling frustrated or stressed about it, step back and remind yourself that it’s just a grocery budget. The world’s not going to come to an end if it’s $5 or $10–or even $30 or $50!–more than you’d like it to be.



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